Research

Baseline Report – Nation Against Early Marriage

Author Breakthrough Trust

Format PDF

Keywords Nation Against Early Marriage, Baseline,

Abstract “When my parents broke the news of my marriage, I had no idea what it meant”, says Kamla, 13 from Hazaribagh, Jharkhand.

Early marriage, commonly known as child marriage is prohibited in India under Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006. However, India is home to largest number of early marriages in the world. Jharkhand and Bihar have the highest rates of early marriage. Out of 119 million adolescents aged 10-19 in India , 47% are likely to get marriage before the legal age. In Jharkhand, more than half the girls are married before they turn 18, making it a state with third-highest rate of early marriage.
Early marriage is a profound violation of the human rights of girls. It also means an early, and thereby a devastating start to several human rights violations – threats to sexual, reproductive, and maternal health, increased vulnerability to domestic violence, denial of education, mobility, choice based decisions, and more — that create a lasting impact.

Breakthrough works in the two states of Bihar and Jharkhand involving 6.8 million girls who could potentially be affected by early marriage. It’s campaign – Nation Against Early Marriage aims to reduce early marriage using mass and multimedia interventions and community engagement to challenge prevailing gender norms, change attitudes and practices and promote rights and values.

The aim of this baseline report is to establish the status of outcome indicators to make a comparison later vis-a-vis the programme impact. While the regression model suggest that addressing gender norms can be one of the means of reducing early marriage, the related outcome indicators show disparity between genders in terms of household responsibilities and access to education and inheritance. As a common practice that also emerged during the survey was that women and girls were primarily responsible for household chores and men and boys were responsible for financial sustainability of the family. Though 95% of respondents were aware of the key consequences of early marriage, however, this did not help reduce the general practice of early marriage. The most frequent response to the age of marriage of girls was 15-17 years, indicating an established trend towards early marriage.

Using an RCT model of intervention, average age at marriage for women was about 15-16 years in all four treatment groups. Using the linear regression, some findings emerged as Scheduled Caste groups had a lower age at marriage compared to rest of population groups, distance from town has a positive effect on age at marriage – more equal the gender norms higher the age of marriage. Surprisingly, 67% of married women among all surveyed households got married before the age of 18, with a higher incidence among women than men.

Breakthrough’s programme intends to use pop culture, mass media, and community mobilisation to effect changes in prevailing gender norms focusing on three factors: division of household responsibilities, mobility and access to education and inheritance. While gender- disparity is quite wide spread in terms of holding household responsibilities – largely pushing it towards women, the financial responsibility goes into pockets of men, found in approximately 70% of households surveyed. In case of mobility, among 63% of households, girl go to school accompanied by friends and while visiting health clinics, are accompanied by female family members/relatives. In only 20% of the cases, girls go to school without someone accompanying them. Regarding inheriting property, 95% of households reported that sons alone inherit the family property. In case of early marriage, girls are set to be ready for marriage when they attain age of 18, puberty, mensuration and by physical growth. Also, puberty/menstruation was the most common response across all treatment groups.

In terms of access to information, TV was the most common source in sample areas with 58% of households having access to television, followed by 36% of radio and 34% of newspaper.

Bell Bajao! Campaign – A Report

Author Breakthrough

Format PDF

Keywords Bell Bajao!, #RingTheBell

Abstract With an objective of bringing domestic violence to halt, Breakthrough launched a massive campaign – BELL BAJAO! – step towards reducing violence against women. Given rampant gender inequality and complexity of the issue, the need arises to recognise nuance and have an integrated approach as envisaged in Bell Bajao! The distinguishing feature of the campaign was the well-thought use of pop culture, media and arts to address the related issues. As part of its Rights Advocate’s programme, Breakthrough intends to mobilise youth and communities to establish equal power dynamics and social norms to foster a sustainable change. Being highly widespread, Bell Bajao! emerged as a campaign with a reach of 230 million people in India. Bell Bajao! has been recognized both at national and international level and has received request for partnerships from various countries across Asia, Africa and Latin America.

The two path breaking fronts of such a massive campaign has been rising awareness on Protection of Women against Domestic Violence (PWDVA) and looking at notions of ‘public and private’ as associated with domestic violence. One of the key successes of the campaign has been challenging perceptions related to domestic violence – considering it a private issue. With this campaign, the perceptions related to domestic violence were improved – encouraging people to intervene thereby challenging notions that domestic violence is a ‘private’ matter.

At the policy level, Bell Bajao! has been successful in helping institutions adopt Breakthrough’s training curriculum and women’s rights as part of their core strategy.

The campaign addressed the following set of people:

Survivors – help them to overcome fear and hesitation,

Men and boys – helping them become agents of change,

Community – become support actors

A two way approach to intervention – a media campaign supported by a very effective community mobilisation initiative was adopted to roll out in UP and Karnataka in sync with Breakthrough’s Right’s Advocates (RA’s) programme and use of the video van in Mumbai and Delhi. To make this mass initiative community driven, local and national level NGOS and CBOs, educational institutions, government leaders, media related people/agencies and social change actors were engaged – build their capacities to become social change advocates.

Bell Bajao! as a campaign has benefitted from the efficacy of all existing interventions by providing all stakeholders to share their key learning’s and experiences. Both qualitative and quantitative techniques were used to measure and capture the impact in terms of total reach, effectiveness of message delivery platform and improved knowledge, attitudes and behaviours.

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